Dignity, happiness and being able to live a ‘normal life’ in the UK: an examination of post-accession Polish migrants' transnational autobiographical fields

McGhee, D., Heath, S. and Trevena, P. (2012) Dignity, happiness and being able to live a ‘normal life’ in the UK: an examination of post-accession Polish migrants' transnational autobiographical fields. Social Identities, 18(6), pp. 711-727. (doi:10.1080/13504630.2012.709002)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504630.2012.709002

Abstract

This article examines data from a qualitative study of post-accession Polish migrants living in the UK. We examine themes from our interviews such as ‘dignity’, ‘normality’, ‘happiness’ and the ‘affordability’ and ‘ease’ of life in the UK (compared to Poland). We focus on the autobiographical or intra-personal discursive practices that define what Habib calls migrants' continuing relationship with their ‘homeland’. We draw on Emirbayer and Mische's analysis of the relationship between ‘agency’ and what they call ‘embedded temporalities’ to examine the interaction between our participants' recollections of life in Poland and their evaluation of their present lives in the UK in order to examine the impact of these on their future plans (to stay in the UK or return to Poland). We locate this analysis in what we call a transnational autobiographical field which is a modification of what Levitt and Glick Schiller call a transnational social field. Rather than examine, for example, how decisions to migrate, settle and re-migrate are embedded in inter or trans-personal social relations and networks, in this article we examine the self-dynamics associated with our participants' articulation of their intra-personal and autobiographical embedded temporalities. Our argument is that articulations of individuals' pasts, presents and anticipated futures are also significant factors shaping their migration, settlement, and re-migration decisions.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Trevena, Dr Paulina and McGhee, Dr Derek
Authors: McGhee, D., Heath, S., and Trevena, P.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Central and East European Studies
Journal Name:Social Identities
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN:1350-4630
ISSN (Online):1363-0296

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